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William Taaffe
December 22, 1986
The best and the boneheaded of '86 receive their just rewards
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December 22, 1986

It's Heidi Duty Time

The best and the boneheaded of '86 receive their just rewards

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No major sports event was yanked off the air without notice this year, so there won't be a Heidi Heidi Award named in honor of the little Alpine brat whose movie bumped a thrilling AFL game off the air in 1968. But Heidi has a whole mess of other awards for the best and worst in sports TV. Oh, does she ever.

THE FIRST HEIDI SPACE CADET MEDAL—To Mary Anne Loughlin, co-host of the Goodwill Games (TBS). During a bizarre interview with two Soviet cosmonauts, who were aboard an orbiting space station, Loughlin asked if the two had been able to watch the opening ceremonies of the Games. Her next question: Which sports did they play in the space station?

BEST LIVE TELECAST—Game 4 of the World Series ( NBC), in which the Mets got even with the Red Sox. Finest moments: director Harry Coyle's shots of Dwight Evans dropping Lenny Dykstra's homer over the bullpen gate in rightfield; a fan retrieving a homer from under a van on Lansdowne Street; Gary Carter at bat, his eyes as big as saucers as he waited for a fat pitch. TV doesn't get any better than this.

THE DEWEY BEATS TRUMAN AWARD—To the increasingly tiresome Jimmy the Greek ( CBS). Last January he said that the Patriots had "zero chance" against the Dolphins and that the Rams would upset the Bears. In September he picked St. Louis to go to the Super Bowl.

TITANIC TROPHY FOR DISASTER AT SEA—to college football producer Ric LaCivita ( CBS), while taking a break for local commercial time, LaCivita missed Notre Dame's winning field goal in the USC game. And while directing cameras to get sideline reaction, he missed a touchdown and a two-point conversion in the '86 Cotton Bowl.

MOST MEMORABLE SHOTS—1) Evans leaning on his elbow at the fence in dejection and frustration after failing to rob Dykstra of his homer; 2) Rick Mears, at the Indy 500, embracing his mother and handing his watch to his girlfriend before climbing into his car like a high-tech Sir Galahad ( ABC); 3) Jack Nicklaus, once again a winner, hugging his son (and caddie), Jackie, on the 18th green at Augusta ( CBS).

WORST REGULAR SHOW—NBC's schizophrenic NFL '86. Does the show want to be an information center, a sitcom or simply a farce? It now has a peanut gallery that applauds and laughs on cue, a la the Howdy Doody show. And Bob Costas can't decide whether he's Ted Koppel or Bob Barker. Back to the drawing board, guys.

BEST COVERAGE OF A SINGLE EVENT—1) The Daytona 500 (Bob Fishman, CBS, director). The in-car shots and sounds of Richard Petty's crash—sparks flying, metal grinding—were like a punch in the gut. 2) The Kentucky Derby ( ABC). Producer Curt Gowdy Jr. decided to stick an isolated camera on 17-1 shot Ferdinand. Guess which horse came from dead last to win?

THE ROYAL FLUSH TROPHY—To NBC executive producer Mike Weis-man, whose silent minute on the Super Bowl pregame show was designed to give viewers a chance to hit the bathroom or the fridge. Or was it? More people, it seemed, lingered to marvel at the blank screen.

BEST ANNOUNCER—For play-byplay, Al Michaels ( ABC). For commentary, these three: 1) Tim McCarver ( ABC), 2) Tim McCarver ( ABC), 3) Tim McCarver ( ABC).

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